Master Sewing and Design Certification Program

Friday, April 17, 2015

Thrifty Thursday/The Peasant Dress or Top

Well, it just wouldn't be Friday if I wasn't skating in late with my Thrifty Thursday post!!! At this point, I might as well make a joke about it ;)
Before I get started, I thought I would tell you a little story. My grandmother made the best pie crusts. One day, I decided that I wanted to make a pie, so I gave her a call and asked for the recipe. We lived in Illinois, and she in Texas, so it wasn't like I could pop over for a little instruction. But, she assured me that I should have no problem with making the crust. I followed her instructions, thinking that I too would have a perfect pie crust. Once I had it all together, I rolled it out on wax paper just as she would do, and then....I couldn't get it off the wax paper. I was so upset and ended up shaking the wax paper which meant that the pie crust went everywhere. What did I think, that the pie crust would actually feel bad about not coming off the wax paper??? Have you ever been so upset with something that you felt that you wanted to shake out your frustrations? 
Some time back, I found a cute summer hat pattern on the Martha Stewart website that I thought would be great for a Thrifty Thursday post. Well, it wasn't. It was the most poorly drafted pattern that I have ever seen. Now, most of you know that I do not like to speak badly about a pattern, and if I don't like something, I just move on, and that's what I did with that pattern, But to be honest, I was rather aggravated with the good people at Martha Stewart as I felt that they had the expertise to do better. Now, I tell you this as the Martha Stewart team has redeemed themselves as I found this pattern for a peasant top/dress, and I really liked it with 1 exception and it's an easily fixed exception. 
The pattern comes in sizes small/medium/large. It has 2 length options, a dress or a top, and there are 3 sleeve length options. You can find the free downloadable pattern HERE.
I made up the dress length and I added 3" to the hem length, and gave the dress a 2" hem. If you scroll down, you'll see that the dress is still above my knee, which is great for a summer dress, but keep this in mind if you decide to make the dress length as you may want to add a little more to the length.
Here's a schematic of  the pattern once it has been taped together. There are only 3 pieces to the pattern, a front, back and sleeve pattern.
Here's the finished dress on me. Please forgive my lily white legs. This is the first time that they have seen the light of day since last year!!! I chose the mid-length sleeve, so you can see that the mid-length is actually above the elbow. The long sleeve would be more of a 3/4 length sleeve.
I did say earlier that I had 1 issue with the pattern, albeit, not a big issue, but it is with the hem of the sleeve.  
The sleeve pattern is below. You can see how the hem of the sleeve has a curved hem which allows for the graceful aspect of the sleeve.
Here's the problem, when the sleeve is put together along the underarm sleeve seam, it forms a "V" shape. A "V" shape is impossible to turn up for an elastic casing. One way to remedy this would be to make a separate casing pattern, but you can also straighten out the "V".  
On the front sleeve, bring the underarm seam down 1/2" and square the line over to meet back up with the curve of the hemline. For my example, I should have extended my line into the hemline a little more, but hopefully this gives you the idea.
You will need to extend the front of the sleeve 1/2" to coordinate with the front, and blend the line back into the sleeve hemline.
Now when the front and back are matched up at the hemline, there will be a smooth line that can be turned up for the elastic casing.
All in all, I liked the pattern. It was very easy to put together. You could leave it as a plain piece like I did, or you can embellish the top and make it unique. Other than the small "V" issue on the underarm seam of the sleeve, the people at Martha Stewart have redeemed themselves with this pattern.
Now for my shoes. I just got these and I think they are so cute! Believe it or not, they're from Payless. Just in case you're interested, HERE'S a link :)  
Hope you are having a wonderful day!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

I'm Teaching In Nashville, Tennessee!!!

I told you that I had some exciting news!!!
I have been invited to work along with Helen Haughey, a true couturier, and teach a 2 day seminar on creating a unique and very chic, sheath dress. Here's an article that Helen did for Threads magazine on using couture details to create the perfect sheath dress.
The class will be a 2 day intensive class, Saturday June 6, 2015 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and then again on Sunday June 7, 2015 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is a great opportunity to perfect your own one of a kind dress with fitting and styling help from Helen and myself.

Included in the cost of the class will be a private tour of the upcoming exhibit at the Frist Museum, Italian Style: Fashion Since 1945. From the museum's website,
From Armani to Valentino, Prada to Pucci, Italy’s iconic fashion houses have defined modern style with luxurious couture, artisanal leather goods, innovative ready-to-wear, and fine tailoring.  Italian Style: Fashion Since 1945 celebrates Italy’s tradition of dressing well from head to toe and examines the unique social and economic factors that have made the country such a dominant force in international fashion for the past seventy years.
Italian Style: Fashion Since 1945 will be on view in the Frist Center’s Ingram Gallery from June 5 through September 7. The exhibition was organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Our private tour will take place at 4 p.m. on Friday, June 5, 2015. After the tour, we have made arrangements to attend the the opening of the exhibit which will be in the Frist's Grand Lobby. There we will be treated to hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar will be available for libations. At 6:30, a talk will be given by the curator from The Victoria and Albert Museum. Such a wonderful opportunity!  
The cost of the class and private Frist tour will be $285.00.
If you are interested in coming to Nashville, please email me to register. My email address is
The class will be held at the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Downtown Nashville/The Gulch. If you would like to stay at the Fairfield Inn,you may find a special room rate HERE.
There are many hotels in Nashville, so  if you don't have a preference about staying downtown, I'm sure you can find a reduced rate at another hotel. 
Space for the class is limited, so if you are interested in coming to Nashville, be sure to contact me as soon as possible. I would love to spend the weekend with you!!! 

Decades of Style Arches Skirt Pattern on Sale!

The upcoming Decades of Style Arches Skirt sew along is just around the corner, but there is still plenty of time to get the pattern if you would like to join along. And, the good news is that Sew News is having a 1 day sale of 15% off!!!!! Use the code TAXDAY at check out to receive the discount.
The code is only good for today, April 15, 2015, so if you would like to try and save a little on the pattern, today is your day!!!! You can find the pattern on the Sew News/Sew It All site HERE.

I'm going to be back a little later today with some very exciting news. Well, at least I'm excited!!! 
Have a great day!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Monday Morning Inspiration/Dior/The Secret World of Haute Couture

Well, spring is finally beginning to spring here in Chicago. It makes my heart sing!! I'm even able to sleep with a window open. The only downside of the window being open is that there is a bird that begins singing at 3:30 in the morning!!! Can't he wait until the sun comes up??? Oh well, at least I have ear plugs :)
I had intended to do a post on active wear this morning, but I came across the videos that I have posted and I was mesmerized, so I changed my mind. I'll tell you a little more about the second video a little further down. The first video is on the making of a Dior haute couture gown. Absolutely amazing. The video is short, only a little over 4 minutes and trust me, you will truly enjoy it. The video showcases the process behind these dresses. They are not at all what you think you see. If you have not seen the video, I don't want to spoil it for you, so watch and find out how these pieces were constructed.

Now for the second video. This is one that you will probably need to bookmark and come back to as it is long, 45 minutes in fact, but well worth seeing. In the Secret World of Haute Couture, you will meet ladies who wear and love haute couture. It's really quite fascinating. It's all about living a life of elegance.
Hope you can treat yourself to a little elegance this week. Maybe it's a long, long soak in a bath, or a manicure, but something that will make you feel pampered and special.
Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sunday Night Reflections

Never speak from a place of jealousy, anger, or insecurity.
Evaluate your words before you allow them to leave your lips.
It's best to be quiet.
                                                                                                          Tony A. Gaskins Jr.

Healthy Eating/Asparagus and Arugula Pasta Salad

I just had breakfast and this picture makes me hungry!!! I made this pasta dish earlier this week and it is absolutely delicious! It's from a fun food blog called Gimme Some Oven. The blog is all about.creating fun, creative and easy recipes that are not only good to eat but healthy as well. The dish is called Asparagus and Arugula pasta Salad and you can find the recipe HERE.
Asparagus is in season right now, so it's full of flavor as well as nice and tender.
While shopping, I found this pasta. It's a blend of 8 whole grains and very flavorful. 
I basically followed the recipe. I began by filling my pasta bowl with fresh arugula.
Because I am looking to add as much color as possible to my dishes, I decided to add quartered grape tomatoes, love these little buggers!! At this point, I sat the bowl aside,cooked my pasta and chopped my asparagus. Be sure to follow the instructions and add the asparagus toward the end of the pasta cooking time.
Once the pasta was cooked and drained, I did not cool it down with water, rather I returned it to the pot and added the rest of the ingredients, except for the toasted pine nuts. Before combining the pasta with the arugula  and tomatoes, I sprinkled a little olive oil over the arugula. The pasta mixture was then added to the salad mixture and topped with the pine nuts. So in essence, I served the pasta warm. It was great! We had leftovers, so for the leftovers, I simply piled a little fresh arugula on a plate and topped it with the pasta salad and served the leftovers cold.
If you like pasta salad, by all means give this recipe a try. It's great warm and cold, so it will make a wonderful leftover, lunch time dish as well.
On the Gimme Some Oven website, you'll find a nice printable version of the recipe, so be sure to pop over. If you would prefer a vegan version of the dish, just leave out the feta cheese.
Here's to your health!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Thrifty Thursday on Saturday/Free T-Shirt Pattern

Over the past couple of years, I have been absolutely amazed by so many of you who have taken on the challenge of not purchasing any ready made clothing. I have not jumped in as there are pieces that I buy from time to time, especially for skiing, that I would rather not make. It's not that I can't, it has more to do with the fabric that's used. I get cold so very easily and I have found pieces that keep me warm like nothing else can. But, with all of that said, I really do make most of my clothes. It has become a very rare situation that I purchase something and I think that's a good thing.
I have a t-shirt pattern that I drafted some time ago that I use to make lots of tops with, but since I haven't gotten to the point that I can make that available to you, I thought I would look around for a very basic t-shirt pattern that was not only a great pattern, but free!! And I found one. The pattern line, Skinny Bitch Curvy Chick was designed for the petite woman, so typically, someone who is 5'4" tall or less, and has a shorter torso, legs and arms. There is a free t-shirt pattern offered on the site, so I thought that although I am not a petite person, I would give it a try and the result is that I REALLY like this pattern. The pictures below are from the SBCC website.
Not only does she offer 1 free t-shirt pattern, she offers 2! Even better. The first version is a basic long sleeved t-shirt. You can find the pattern HERE.
The second is a basic short sleeved t-shirt. You can find the pattern HERE. The pattern is basically the same as the long sleeved version, it just takes the guesswork out of determining how long the short sleeve should be.
I included the line drawing for you.
The pattern is very easy to download and especially easy to tape together. The taping will take less than 30 minutes. Here's a schematic of the pattern once it has been taped together. Take note that she has also included a neckband pattern. I just love it when all the pieces are included!!!
I still need to hem my top, but other than the hems, it's finished and as I said, I really like it.
 The neckline is quite nice, not too high and not too low.
If you decide to download the pattern, a few things to keep in mind.
The sleeves were perfect for me, but I have short arms, so you will most likely want to lengthen the sleeves. I took mine in just a little at the waistline. I do not have a short torso, in fact, I will quite often spread my patterns at the waist if the pattern has a defined waist. I did not have an issue with the waist of this pattern being too short. If you are very long waisted, you may want to slash the pattern at the waist and lengthen it an inch or so.
One thing that I like about the pattern is the length of the front and back. They are long enough that you can scrunch your top along the hips when wearing jeans, and since there is a little extra length, you won't feel that your top is going to ride up when you move.
This is a great basic pattern that can be used for all you t-shirt making needs. Make a bunch in different colors and you can even layer them, one of my favorite things to do. So although this pattern  is intended for a petite frame, don't shy away from it if you are not.
Pictures of me in the top will hopefully come in just a few days :)
Happy t-shirt making!!!